Thursday, August 15, 2019

A Tale Of Two Markets

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness. -- A Tale Of Two Cities

I am please to report that I have completed my Open Water Training. I had five dives etched into my diver log book and I was gearing up for my Advanced Open Water Training. Gary, the main guy at the Dive shop said to me "You have lots of time. Take a few days off. Take in what you accomplish and then come back". Quality advice.
This would allow me a chance to stay out at night and sleep in much later. I could also get off the beach strip and have a look around. I decided to take in a few markets. One during the day and the other at night.

I started walking as it was only a 5k trip, then thought better of it as I was not into it. I jumped on the back of a moto taxi and off I went. $3 and 15 minutes later I was standing in front of the Pattaya Floating Market.

The Pattaya Floating Market was created to bring the four regions of Thailand together in one place. The layout was nice it never felt rushed, regardless of the noise. There was so much food to try and vendors were selling trinkets and trash but there were also some nice things. I bought a leather passport holder for 100 Bhat and they punched my name into a leather tag and attached it. Nice.

The long boats full of Chinese tourists eased through the market giving it a nice feel. The boardwalks were clean and surprisingly, no garbage smell that usually comes with places like this.  There were a few touristy things such as a zip line and shitty things like both elephant and monkey shows. I found the message area and relaxed with an hour foot and leg message. I found I was having one every other day. Cost was 200 Baht or about $9.00 Canadian. If you have a massage anywhere in Pattaya that is the price so add a 100 Baht tip you cheapskate.

Jomtein Beach Night Market was a 15-minute walk from my hotel. I thought nothing of it, that is until I got there and had a look around. Immediately, I was hooked. There were lots of people but not enough to destroy the vibe. I felt compelled to have another message after eating a huge amount of pork ribs and drinking a few cold beer. I found a table on the packed patio and settled in to feast. A couple of older Aussie dudes asked if they could join me. They had a couple of local lovelies, who they the immediately sent to fetch them beer. They were retired teachers no less and moved to Pattaya 5 years ago. They each had property about 20 minutes outside of town but they realized Pattaya was not the Pattaya they expected. I sat and listen to them regale stories of their past and their present. There are always interesting people to talk to if you allow yourself the opportunity.

After the mandatory foot and leg message, I went for a wander. There was fresh squid and shrimp ready for the BBQ. There was also pigs feet, cows tongue and bug larvae. Mmmmm bug larvae. I have eaten enough bugs, worms and crickets during my time in Mexico. I did not have it in me this trip. The sights and smells were not overwhelming and blended perfectly with the night air and the ocean breeze. I grabbed another beer and found the Aussie lads. They had not moved and by the beer bottle count on the table, I figured they could not move. Impressive to say the least for 90 minutes.

I dislike restaurants. I spent many years working in them but like smoking, I find it a nasty habit that I needed to quit. Wow, that sounded "old man bitter". Truth be told, I have completely lost my love for them. Not just restaurants, the entire experience. I had better rephrase that. I dislike "dining". My first choice for food anywhere I go is the street, then to a market. It is usually excellent, naturally inexpensive and always lots of something piled on a plate. This Night Market became my "go to" every night for the rest of the week. Pork Ribs, BBQ Squid and Shrimp, Fish soup or fish with rice. Mangoes and sticky rice, fruit smoothies, and oddly enough, excellent banana bread. I would buy one to take with me for breakfast. Street food makes me happy. I like happy

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